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To Retake the LSAT or Not Retake the LSAT?


With October LSAT scores out this week, I’m sure many of you are either kicking back with a well-deserved beer or else grinding away wrapping up your applications. Here, however, I’d like to address those among us with a less than happy outcome.

Target scores are all relative, of course. For some, a 169 represents a victory and a direct ticket to their local law school, with scholarship. To others, it can signify the demise of their T6 applications. I’d strongly recommend you check out TLS or your Blueprint Compass to get a sense of what score you need, in light of your GPA and soft factors, to get into your school of choice.

Generally speaking, if you aren’t happy with your score, I’d advise a retake. The LSAT’s no fun, but in most cases it’s the single most important element of your application. Thus, if your score precludes your admittance to wherever you’re trying to go, it’s probably time to buckle back down. The first thing you should do is review each of the questions you missed on the actual test. Start a log of all questions you miss going forward, and commit to never missing an analogous question again. Then, take an untimed test. Not a lackadaisical, minimal-effort test, but remove time as a factor in your score. This should highlight for you which questions and concepts you need fundamental work on, versus which questions you just need more time to execute on. Anything that you’re missing in an untimed test requires significant review.

Now, a retake does not necessarily preclude your applying this cycle. You could throw a couple Hail Mary’s and try to get in on the strength of your softs and your GPA, while also planning to retake and apply the following year. Bear in mind though that if you do this your schools will regard you the following year as a second-time applicant. This can actually be perceived as a positive, in many cases, because it shows a dedication to the school, but it also means you need to take into account that your old application and new application will be evaluated together.

Other folks will be perfectly happy foregoing the retake and recognizing that their score means they’re headed for George Washington, instead of Georgetown. If that’s you, I’d recommend giving your new target schools’ employment stats another quick review, and then shooting out your applications ASAP. Godspeed.